Mutawintji Lease Agreement
|Date: ||4 September 1998|
|Place:||Approximately 150km north east of Broken Hill|
|State/Country:||New South Wales, Australia|
|Subject Matter:||Collaboration / Partnership | Cultural Heritage | Employment and Training | Environmental Heritage | Land Management | Native Title | Recognition of Native Title or Traditional Ownership|
|Summary Information: |
|The Mutawintji Lease Agreement is the culmination of a 15 year fight for the Aboriginal people of the Broken Hill area. On the 5 September 1998, the Mutawintji National Park, including over 76,000 hectares of land, was returned to the traditional owners, on the condition that the park was leased to the government for a minimum period of 30 years.|
Under the Agreement, the traditional owners won hunting, fishing and food gathering rights, as well as an assurance that the majority of the jobs within the park would go to Aboriginal people.
|Detailed Information: |
|In September 1983, after a history of displacement, the traditional owners of the lands now comprising Mutawintji National Park, Mutawintji Historic Site and Mutawintji Nature Reserve, blockaded the area to assert their desire to regain ownership, control and management of their sacred lands. The area was a sacred meeting place for a number of tribes and is well known for its rock art, in particular its hand stencils and engravings. |
In the period between 1983 and 1991, the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council, on behalf of the traditional owners, campaigned to persuade the New South Wales government to recognise Aboriginal interests in the area. In 1991, the first National Parks and Wildlife (Aboriginal Ownership) Bill was tabled in Parliament to enable recognition of Aboriginal ownership of certain National Parks and Reserves in New South Wales. Over the next five years a series of negotiations were conducted relating to the proposed legislation. In December 1996, the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Aboriginal Ownership) Act 1996 was passed. The Act enabled the lease between the Mutawintji Aboriginal Land Council and the State government to go ahead. It was the first of its kind in New South Wales.
The lease acknowledges the name change of the lands from Mootwingee National Park, Mootwingee Historical Site and Coturaundee Nature Reserve, and confirms the recognition of communal inalienable freehold title of the land, held on behalf of the Aboriginal owners by the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council.
The lease is for a term of thirty years, renewable for terms of no less than thirty years beyond that. The land remains part of the conservation estate of New South Wales, but is under the care, control and management of a Board of Management, which comprises a majority of Aboriginal members. Under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, the Board must also consist of a nominee of the Land Council, a representative of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, local government, conservation groups and neighbouring station lessees.
The lease sets out the defined areas of land, considers procedural matters, as well as cultural and conservation values, and deals with various lease issues such as the renewal process, breaches and termination of the lease.
The principles and practical issues of joint management and land management are considered as well as provisions for the resolution of disputes.